Genesis & Job

An ancient African proverb imparts wisdom about tackling huge projects: “How does one person eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.” The Genesis & Job Series is the first bite of Eyewitness Bible Series in tackling the Old Testament.

The most casual reader soon recognizes the majority of the writings of the Old Testament have to do with the history of the Israelites (also known as Hebrews or Jews). Embedded in the Old Testament is a wealth of knowledge about God and his character, books of poetry and proverbs, and a host of prophecies.

In Bibles used by most Protestant Christians, the Old Testament consists of 39 writings, called books. The Eyewitness Bible Series groups these books into three different series:

  • Genesis & Job: Genesis describes the creation of Earth, gives the history of all mankind, and describes a brief history of the Israelite nation from its beginning until it moves to Egypt. All of Genesis is saturated with knowledge about God, his power, and his relationship with mankind. Job is a story of an ancient man, his struggles, and his dealings with God. Although nothing is absolutely clear concerning the time period of his life, it seems as if Job lived in the time before the Israelite nation existed.
  • Promised Land: Covers the time period from the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, their exodus to Canaan, and the conquering of Canaan. This series includes the Old Testament books of Exodus to Judges.
  • Prophets and Kings: Covers the time period from the first prophet and king until the last prophet. It describes the initial occupation of Canaan, the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, the exile of the Southern kingdom, and the return to Judah. With the exception of Job, this includes the Old Testament books of Ruthto Malachi.


Promises Fulfilled

Try to imagine Joseph’s situation. One day, he is the favored son of a very wealthy man, with expectations from God that he will rule over his family. Days later, he is in copper chains being beaten by merciless Ishmaelite slave traders. Slave traders that are distant relatives. Generations before, they had the same great-grandfather: Abraham.

Arriving in Egypt, the slave traders sell Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. Since the Lord gave Joseph favor in everything he did, Potiphar had the good business sense to put Joseph in charge of all his affairs. Joseph fulfilled his responsibilities perfectly…until he unwittingly got crosswise with his boss’s wife. Joseph was on his way to jail as he learned the meaning of the saying, “hell has no fury like a woman scorned.”

In jail, God causes Joseph to correctly interpret the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s former officials. Eventually, one of those officials recalls that Joseph can interpret dreams and volunteers him to interpret dreams for Pharaoh.

Pharaoh tells Joseph of his two dreams. Giving God the credit, Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that Egypt will soon have seven years of extraordinary harvests, followed by seven years of severe famine. Pharaoh discerns that Joseph is correct and promotes him to have the authority to act appropriately. At only thirty years of age, Joseph became Number Two in the country.

During the seven years of plenty, Joseph stores up an immense amount of grain. It seems he stored all of the grain that Egypt could produce, and maybe purchased extra from other countries. He stored up so much grain that it could not be counted.

Primary Scriptures:
Genesis 39-41
Story Summary:
Potiphar and his wife; Joseph in jail; Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams
Joseph’s birth is probably 1900-1700 BC